Stanley the celebrity giraffe is seemingly in good health as two wildfires continue to rip through southern California, but animal rights activists are still concerned about him and his fellow residents at Malibu Wine Safaris.
The Malibu Wines property is home to dozens of exotic animals, and it was directly in the path of the Woolsey fire, which has already spread across 95,000 acres and is less than 40 percent contained.
Aside from one Instagram post on Saturday, the venue has not given an update on the status or whereabouts of its animals since.
“Our amazing animal care and facilities team began preparing for evacuations late last night and because of their efforts we have survived the fire,” read the caption of the photo. “Our management team and animal trainers are onsite right now feeding, providing water, repairing enclosures, and caring for our animal family (including Stanley). While we have lost a considerable portion of our barns and facilities, our primary concern is the lives of our animal and human families. We have a small number of animals unaccounted for but the search is continuing through the night. Your offers of support are deeply appreciated and as we begin the reconstruction process we will reach out to neighbors to help with this process!”
Actress and comedian Whitney Cummings on Monday called out Malibu Wines, accusing the winery of not evacuating the animals (or having evacuation plans in place) from its property as the wildfires decimated the area.
The “2 Broke Girls” and “Whitney” creator took to Instagram on Saturday and shared multiple photos of Stanley the giraffe, who was still in his enclosure even as the fire came within feet.
On Sunday, Cummings posted several photos at Malibu Wines in which she was critical of the winery for not evacuating its animals.
“They didn’t evacuate their animals and still won’t,” Cummings wrote. “I wanted to be understanding and gracious, but once you treat your animals like this (when you have plenty of money) we simply aren’t on the same page.”
Cummings later retracted some of her criticism by noting that she wanted more information about the venue’s plans for evacuating the animals before blaming them for inaction.
“Now that I know the full scoop,” Cummings wrote in a later post, “shame on you @malibuwines @malibusafaris for not evacuating this animal or any of your animals.”
“I went rogue and went to check on Stanley the giraffe myself,” she wrote Sunday, alongside a photo of her with Stanley. “There were a lot of rumors and I didn’t want to be contributing to untrue gossip. I don’t know enough about exotic animals to know if them choosing not to move him was the right choice, but for now he is safe although the conditions are terrible air quality and windy.”
She added in another post: “I know moving a giraffe is incredibly dangerous but not having an evacuation plan at all isn’t acceptable. Yes they keep saying they ‘evacuated’ but that means into a pasture that’s still Smokey and burning on their premises just FYI.”
Christy Lee, VP of Protect Animals Worldwide, authored a Change.org petition that stated: “Malibu Safari was in the evacuation zone of the areas effected by the Woolsey Fires in California. Malibu Safari is responsible for the lives of close to 100 animals. Including Sanley [sic] the Giraffe, a zebra, water buffalo, horses, etc. When advised to evacuate their property, they chose not to evacuate the animals. When rescue groups went out to offer help, they refused the help. When rescue groups went out to check on the animals, most of the property had been destroyed by the fires. Images were taken of the fires still burning right next to the animals. It has been confirmed that there are animals unaccounted for. Animals who most likely perished [sic] due to their negligence. It was confirmed on Sunday. November, 11th, that the property was still burning and the animals are still at risk.”
The petition demands that the animals be moved immediately to a safer location and that an “investigation be put into action as to whether Malibu Safari should be allowed to keep these animals or any animal in [sic] their care.”
“They do not have the animals in their best interest,” the petition states. “The animals deserve to live in a safe haven where the people responsible for them will ensure their safety at ALL TIMES.”